SWS Halftrack Upgrades and Conversions

My Roco Minitank collection is an OLD collection.  I got my first Roco perhaps as early as 1962.  Over the years I have continued to buy them both new and used.  Like many collectors I ended up with rather a lot of the same vehicles.  The Roco SWS halftrack has a huge presence in my WWII German collection, and like most old Roco it lacks detail.  So I started looking for ways to upgrade their look.  Some of these were my idea and some of them I got when I purchased old collections.

This photo is the rear end of three SWS halftracks.  First vehicle has a road wheel on the end.  I had a set of SWS tracks that were mis-molded so I cut out the remaining good road wheels and glued some of them on the back of SWS halftracks as spares.  The other wheels are wheels from another OLD Roco the SdKfz 234 armored car.  I had a few spares of those so I took some of their wheels and added them to the back of SWS halftracks.  The one on the right is like the SdKfz 7 unarmored halftrack.

This one is easy, just glue a fuel can on the side.  It probably should be at the rear on the tool box, rather than on the drop down side.

Here is a MG34 and mount from a SdKfz 251 halftrack rear that was in the spares box so it got transferred to the front of this SWS halftrack.  Note to the additional spare tire to add a little extra armor to the passenger compartment.

WWII German vehicles just don't seem complete without a shovel and a bucket.  Roco used to make an accessory pack with buckets and shovels.  Note the two gas cans on the rear sides.  On the front is a 37mm anti-tank gun for a little extra firepower.

Esci Africa Korps troops donated an 81mm mortar for this SWS halftrack.  Note also the jack on the side and the gas can.  The jack is from the Opel Blitz Roco kit.

Overhead view of the mortar carrier, slightly off side to avoid the roof hatch.  There is also a bit of track on the driver side and the bucket on the rear.

Those Roco SdKfz 234 armored car spares donated a 75mm gun shield and a 20mm cannon to this vehicle.  The hatch has been cut open also.

The same vehicle from the side.  The SWS armored halftracks were intended to bring supplies to the forward areas and avoid being damaged by shell fire.  I have not read that any of these conversions took place, but given the extent of German losses I would not be surprised if a few of these vehicles were pressed into service with panzer grenadier troops.  It also does not seem unreasonable to think that supply troops would add a little extra firepower to stop partisan attacks in the fluid situation on the Eastern Front.

Easy addition here, I added the German machine gun that came in the Roco Machine Gun set.  Not unlike those used by the SdKfz 251 halftracks.  You could even add a shield.

Here is the biggest conversion, making the SWS into a radio van.  This is the Roco US Army radio van that came on the 2 1/2 ton truck model.  The Germans built van bodies on many of their cargo trucks, often using field expedient methods, so this is certainly possible.

Front view of the same vehicle.  For more authenticity you could use a Roco Opel Blitz van body for the SWS, but I had some of these surplus.

SWS with frame antenna.  Make one of those surplus Sound Detectors into a radio van. 

I have no evidence that any of these vehicles represent actual vehicles used in combat during WWII by the Germans.  They did press all kinds of unusual vehicles, even captured and even prototype vehicles into front line service.  They also modified many vehicles well beyond what they were supposed to carry.  I don't think any of these vehicles are outside the limits of the possible.  The add on bits came from other old Roco vehicles, Roco accessory sets, and even from 1/76 and 1/72nd scale models.  Check your spares box!  Just one more way to make your old vehicles a little more interesting.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

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